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Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by iondot, Aug 30, 2010.
How hard would it be to upgrade the 2.8GHz Quadcore to the 3.33GHz Hexacore?
I'd say about 10 minutes and you're done with it.
It's a drop in replacement. Dismounting the cooler, replacing the CPU, putting on some thermal paste and screw the cooler back on.
Piece of cake.
It would cost you about $1100 and obviously void your warranty.
I have upgraded the CPUs in my 06 Mac Pro twice since buying it on release date all without issue. I think on paper it would technically void the warranty but the CPU swap on these new models (compared with the previous design) is a very trivial swap and if you had warranty issues I don't see why you couldn't just put the 2.8 chip back in.
If you are nervous though, wait until someone puts together a nice DIY walkthrough detailing the process. One potential issue is the placement of the CPU into the 1366 socket...lots of tiny tiny pins there that can easily get bent if you don't put in the new chip just right w/the right amount of pressure etc.
I was debating on going with the new 2.8 model myself, selling the 2.8 chip and buying the hex 3.3 chip and doing the swap but decided to go the hackintosh route instead which I just finished and must say it is amazing. However it took be the better part of a week and the time/research alone to get a true Mac Pro equivilant isn't worth the $1000+ saved if your time=money. However I am a student and thus could use the extra $1000 in my pocket at the moment and although I am thrilled with this new build as it runs faster, has better expansion, more memory, SSDs etc. if I had the extra money I would do just what I said above.
Are we sure that the quads even have B1 stepping to allow this? Because the quads are Nehalem and probably don't support Westmere.
The upgrade option from Apple is $1200. Buying the CPU yourself is $1100 plus shipping. Sure you could sell the older CPU, but there aren't many people who would buy it; plus like you said, it would be smart to retain it for warranty.
So in the end, would it be worth it?
Just to be clear, I was talking about the OP's setup, not your Mac.
The question of whether if can be done is very different from the question of whether it should be done.
I can, however, think of an unusual circumstance or two where it might be worthwhile.
For example, if the cost of the original unit and the cost of the upgraded CPU were significantly cheaper than the cost of the factory upgraded unit (like a you won one in a raffle or in a poker game with your roommate who can't hide a bad hand); Or if the CPU needed to be replaced in warranty and one wanted to pay for for the upgrade at that time.(Assuming Apple would even be willing)
It also might be worthwhile in a couple years when it's out of warranty and if the price on the CPU dropped.
But I agree with the overall idea that under normal circumstances it currently would not be ideal.
I did answer your question about whether or not it can be done and it was yes, but it would cost you in more than just money.
I don't see the economy in it. That's all.
And Apple doesn't do in-house upgrades on CPUs and such. However should your computer fail many times and they would have to fix it many times, you may be eligible for a replacement, and at that time request to pay for an upgrade to a faster model.
You did? I think I missed it. Transporteur answered in the affirmative though, quite clearly; he made it almost sound like fun.
strausd also asked if quads have B1 stepping to allow such a swap. I don't know enough about it to know what this means, but the question leaves a whiff of doubt in the air.
I do think I illustrated how, in theory, it might be economical, didn't I?
I am with you I mod mac minis over and over and over. It seems to me that if 2.8 works for today in 34 months(right before apple care dies) upgrading to a 6 core would be a clever move. It only works if a 2.8 quad is a lot more then you need right now.
i am running my work with a 2.66 dual core so the jump for me will be a killer boost. i am grabbing a 2.8 next month. I can get a few discounts and pay about 2300 with 1 upgrade the gpu. later add the ram then much later add the better cpu.
Could someone point me as to where I can buy the 6-core processor?
It almost sounds like it would make sense to buy the base 2.8Ghz right now (for me at least, since my issue is I need more internal storage, and quad 2.8 is fine for photoshop work), and in a year or 2, upgrade to the hex core.
Plenty of places sell them. Just google the part #. Newegg has em by the container full.
JMO, but this upgrade path is a real "push" at best. Apple has priced the 3.2 upgrade fairly attractively and the hex very unattractively. Just check the retail prices and you see what I mean.
That's what I'm thinkin'! What about the fact the Quad core takes different memory than the 6, 1066 vs 1333, how will that work?
You asked how hard it was. Transporteur already said how long it takes which implied it was easy. I just said how much it could cost since saying how easy again would be redundant. Plus not everyone who has this question may see that it's not exactly a cheap upgrade. I often answer questions in anticipation that someone else (other than you) may read it in the future.
Furthermore you did illustrate how it's economical for you in a general sense. I was saying it was not economical in the proposed scenario of upgrading from the 2.8GHz 4c to the 3.33GHz 6c. Suppose you did just get the machine for free: I don't see the economy of spending more money on the machine you just got for free or cheaply. So technically, whether or not it's economical is really just my opinionI'm not disagreeing with you.
In answering your question regarding the 'B1' stepping; each processor in its lifetime during manufacture will have physical design bugs. Therefore when the physical bug is fixed at the manufacturing stage, the stepping will change. As these physical changes can mean different processor identifications, the motherboard needs to know about the updated processor [to identify] and run it. The 4c processors used by Apple are the Nehalem "Bloomfield" processors from 2009. The 6c processor is based on the newer Westmere "Gulftown" processor that is newer. Therefore it's possible that Apple has limited the motherboards used by the 4c processors to the older specifications and stepping whereas the 6c uses the latest motherboard.
Not only that, but would swapping a Nehalem with a Westmere on the quad core's mother board work? Any experts?
Unfortunately we can't be a 100% sure about this, yet.
Considering however that the new Quads support 1333MHz RAM, which wasn't the case in the '09 models, Apple must have updated the firmware on the '10 Quads.
Personally I doubt that they will make a distinction between Quad and Hex boards, but with Apple you never know.
Physically it's 100% possible. I suggest waiting a few weeks till the possibility of the upgrade in terms of CPU steppings is confirmed.
Apple ships the quads with 1333 memory. If you plan on doing this upgrade, just be sure to buy 1333 3rd party RAM.
I'd be careful with this one.
If the 2010 is anything like the 2009, you'd best read Anand's writeup on his CPU upgrade for his 2009 Mac Pro, somewhere on anandtech.com.
The CPU's that Apple uses (for the 2009's anyway) don't have heat spreaders mounted on top of the cores. Anand said that the heat spreaders on your average Xeon CPU caused a tight fit for the heat sinks. IIRC he cracked a core trying to either remove the heat spreader or mount the heat sink. (Or was it a bent pin on the daughter card, can't remember exactly.)
Yes I forgot to mention this in my comments above. If this is the case with the 2010's there will be little resale value in pulling the chips out to ebay them and could potentially make it difficult to put a normal hexecore w/heat spreader in there. That is why I said its best to wait for someone else to do a detailed replacement.
Only the 8 core 2009 models came with custom XEON chips that don't have a heat spreader. The Quad models came with standard XEON chips.
The problem with the dual processor machines was that they didn't have the bracket that holds the processor in its socket, which in addition to too much pressure, may cause the bending of socket pins.
It's very likely that Apple didn't change the daughterboards, so upgrading a single processor system is as easy as it would be with a standard PC.
This is incorrect. The Quad-core models are spec'ed at 1066 MHz. Mine arrived with 1066MHz.
It may take the 1333MHz without issue, but it did not ship with it.
The Nehalem chips downclock to 1066. The quads definitely have 1333 RAM included; you can read it off the modules themselves. You can buy 3rd party RAM at 1333 MHz and it will simply be downclocked to 1066 MHz because that's what the Nehalem chip supports.